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PersonalFullname: Adam James Matthews
aka: Adam Matthews
Born: 13 January 1992
Birthplace: Swansea, Wales
Signed: 1 July 2011 (from Cardiff, free!)
Position: Right-back, Full-back, Defender
Debut: Aberdeen 0-1 Celtic, 7th August 2011
Squad No.: 02
International Caps: 6 [May 2012]
International Goals: 0 [May 2012]
BiogOn 25 February 2011, Celtic announced they had secured the signing of Matthews on a pre-contract agreement to commence on 1 July, where he has signed a four-year contract. Matthews will once again team up with his former Cardiff teammate Joe Ledley.
Adam Matthews came as an interesting addition to the squad. The much respected Andreas Hinkel had left the club but the unconvincing Cha Du Ri and Efrain Juarez were ahead in line for the right back role. Thus Matthews was possibly a back up or a long term project and so was an adjunct for the squad.
However, with Juarez shipped out on loan after hissy fits, and, Cha Du Ri putting in some lacklustre performances, Matthews was given more airtime for the first team than was first planned. Even after players returned after injuries he retained the right back role and made a name for himself. Comfortable in defensive duties, he was a step ahead of other full backs in the squad who seemed more comfortable in moving forward than staying back (more wing backs). Surely though defence is the priority for a full back? So Matthews concentrated now on the basics and carved a role for himself in the first team with many competent performances if never flashy. He was simply a back to basics type of player that we needed.
With the departure of Juarez and Cha Du Ri, Matthews became the first choice but was competing with the newly signed Lustig for the full back role, however squad rotation meant that were enough opportunities for all in a long season. Lustig though had stolen a march on him following some great performances in European matches.
Matthew's first major tests came when he was drafted into the left hand full back slot after Izaguirre was out injured un the 2012/13. It was a tough ask especially as the team to face was Barcelona (the side rated one of the greatest ever with Messi on board) and it was on his unfamiliar side of the pitch (LHS). Matthews though was simply brilliant. He covered and defended every blade of grass in his zone, and was a bane in the side for the opposition. Simply he concentrated so hard acknowledging his weakness on the unfamiliar left side of the pitch that he over worked on the basics to give an incredible performance. He gave more than could have been asked for.
Surprisingly, it wasn't until December 2012 that he finally managed to score his first goal, and that was in the cup against lowly Arbroath (the only goal of the game). Mirrored his new mentor, the great Danny McGrain, who was brought into the coaching team to assist and he himself scored rarely in his own time.
Playing Career[Table to indicate clubs played for, including dates, transfers and fees where known [e.g. soccerbase table]]
|APPEARANCES||LEAGUE||SCOTTISH CUP||LEAGUE CUP||EUROPE||TOTAL|
Honours with Celtic:
Scottish Premier League:
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Matthews: I could never turn down CelticBy: Mark Henderson on 02 Jun, 2011 16:17
THE instant Adam Matthews heard Celtic wanted to sign him, his mind was made-up.
In February, the Welsh internationalist put pen to paper on a pre-contract with the Hoops, ending his 10-year association with Cardiff City. Nearly four months on, he was officially paraded at Celtic Park as Neil Lennon’s second signing of the summer, following last week’s arrival of Kelvin Wilson.
As someone who has always been struck by the size and support of the club, there was only ever going to be a positive answer from the 19-year-old when the Hoops came calling.
Delighted at finally wearing the Celtic jersey, Matthews nowjust can’t wait to get started.
“I signed back at the start of February and ever since, I have been looking forward to playing,” he said. “I enjoyed my time at Cardiff and now I am looking forward to the challenge of Celtic.
"I think it was the right time. Obviously, I'd been there since I was nine and I've enjoyed every moment of it but I think it was time to move on and have a new challenge so I have no regrets.
“I just think Celtic are a massive club and I don’t think any player could turn down a chance like that to play for them.
“I just think it’s the size of the club and supporters. They have a massive fanbase all over the world and they are one of the biggest clubs in the world, so those were the main reasons behind the decision really.
“They are the second most supported club in the world, so it was a no brainer. When Celtic came along, I couldn’t turn it down.
“Craig Bellamy said the supporters are great up here. He said they will treat you well, if you treat them well. So I think that was the main reason really. Celtic arealso amassive club, so that helped my decision, too."
Thatmeant he didn’t need much persuasion or words of encouragement from the Hoops boss.
“He made me feel welcome and wanted so I was more than happy to sign, but I think everybody knows about Celtic,” sad Matthews. “They have a massive fanbase and are a massive club so any player would love to play for them.”
Matthews believes the expansive, attacking style employed by Neil Lennon will suit his natural game.
However, he knows there will be huge competition for a starting berth in his favoured right-back position.
“I am quite an attacking full-back so I think the way Celtic play suits me – the full-backs like to bomb on – so that’s a strength of my game, so hopefully the fans can look forward to that,” he said.
“The full-backs have done well this year so we will just see how pre-season goes. I if I have a good one then I have every chance of starting so I am just looking forward to the challenge.
“Of course it’s going to be difficult. Mark Wilson has had a great season here and it’s going to be hard to cement a place in the team but I am looking forward to the challenge and hopefully I can convince Neil Lennon that I’m good enough to play."
And by establishing himself in the Hoops’ top-team, Matthews reckons it will boost his international prospects.
“Hopefully I can get a starting place for Celtic and then cement a place in the national team – that’s my next goal – and I think I have great chance of that by playing for Celtic,” he added.
Since the transfer was confirmed,the defender haskept aclosewatch on Celtic’s progress,which included a trip to Hampdenfor the Co-operative Insurance Cup final against Rangers back in March. He had never experienced an atmosphere like it.
And having the opportunity to play in the Glasgow derby is something he is particularly relishing.
“I came up to watch the Celtic-Rangers final at Hampden and the atmosphere was amazing," he said. "I can’t wait to be involved in those games, so I am looking forward to it.
“I don’t think I have ever been to a game with an atmosphere like that. It was amazing, I couldn’t hear myself speak and I am just looking forward to getting involved now. I can’t wait to play.”
Certainly Matthews is under no illusions of the demands of being a Celtic player. He knows the pressure for success is intense and enduring. Yet, it’s something he is relishing.
“I think Celtic have pressure on them to win the title every year and if I can help the team get one step closer I will be more than happy," he said.
Asked of his opinion of the SPL, he added: “I think it’s the same as any league really.
"They have got their best and worst teams but I think every game is competitive and every team wants to play better against Celtic, as they are the biggest team and you want to win against them, so I am looking forward to it.”
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